By Plane -- Flights to and from most European capitals serve Cristoforo Colombo International Airport, just 6.5km (4 miles) west of the city center (www.airport.genova.it; (tel) 010-60-151). Volabus (www.amt.genova.it; (tel) 010-558-2414 or 800-085-311 toll free from within Italy) connects the airport with the Principe and Brignole train stations, with buses running the 30-minute trip once or twice an hour from 5am to 10pm; buy tickets (6€, includes a transfer to or from the city transportation network) on the bus.
By Train -- Genoa has two major train stations, Stazione Principe (designated on timetables as Genova P.P.), near the Old Town and the port on Piazza Acquaverde, and Stazione Brignole (designated Genova BR.), in the modern city on Piazza Verdi. Many trains, especially those on long-distance lines, service both stations; however, some stop only at one, making it essential that you know the station at which your train is scheduled to arrive and from which it will depart. Trains (free, as they don’t check tickets btw. the downtown stations) connect the two stations in 5 minutes and run about every 15 minutes.
Genoa is the hub for trains serving the Italian Riviera, with trains arriving from and departing for Ventimiglia on the French border about once an hour, and La Spezia, at the eastern edge of Liguria, even more frequently, as often as three trains an hour during peak times between 7am and 7pm (regional: 1 1/2 hr.; high-speed: 1 1/4 hr.). The regional trains make local stops at almost all the coastal resorts while the faster trains stop at only a few of them. Lots of trains connect Genoa with major Italian cities: Milan (one to two per hour; regional: 2 hr.; high-speed: 1 1/2 hr.), Rome (hourly; 5–6 hr.), Turin (one per hour; regional: 2 hr.; high-speed: 1 3/4 hr.), Florence (hourly but always with a change, usually at Pisa; 3 hr.), Pisa (hourly; regional: 3 hr.; high-speed: 1 1/2–2 hr.).
By Bus -- An extensive bus network connects Genoa with other parts of Liguria, and with other Italian and European cities, from the main bus station next to Stazione Principe. It’s easiest to reach seaside resorts by the trains that run along the coast, but buses link to many small towns in the region’s hilly hinterlands. Contact PESCI, Piazza della Vittoria 94r ((tel) 010-564-936), for tickets and information.
By Car -- Genoa is linked to other parts of Italy and to France by a convenient network of highways. Genoa has lots of parking around the port and the edges of the Old Town, so you can usually find a spot easily. It can be pricey (1.60€–2.50€ an hour), though in some lots you don’t pay for the overnight hours.
By Ferry -- Genoa is linked to several other major Mediterranean ports, including Barcelona, as well as Sardinia and Sicily by ferry service (www.traghettitalia.it). Most boats leave and depart from the Stazione Marittima ((tel) 010-089-8300), which is on a waterfront roadway, Via Marina D’Italia, about a 5-minute walk south of Stazione Principe. For service to and from the Riviera Levante, check with Tigullio (www.traghettiportofino.it; (tel) 0185-284-670); there’s almost hourly service from 9am to 5pm daily in July and August.
The main tourist office is on Via Garibaldi 12r across from the beautiful city hall (www.visitgenoa.it; (tel) 010-557-2903), open daily 9am to 6:30pm. There are branches also in Piazza Caricamento near the aquarium ((tel) 010-557-4200), open daily 9:30am to 6:30pm; and Cristoforo Colombo airport ((tel) 010-601-5247), open daily 9am to 1pm and 1:30 to 5:30pm.
Given Genoa’s labyrinth of small streets (many of which cannot be negotiated by car or bus), the only way to get around much of the city is on foot. This, however, can be a navigational feat that requires a good map. The tourist office gives out terrific maps, but you can also buy an audioguide with map that really helps you navigate the small vicoli or backstreets. Genovese are usually happy to direct visitors, but given the geography with which they are dealing, their instructions can be complicated.
By Bus -- Bus tickets (1.50€) are available at newsstands and at ticket booths, tabacchi (tobacconists, marked by a brown and white t sign), and at the train stations; look for the symbol AMT (www.amt.genova.it; (tel) 010-558-2414). Otherwise, they cost 2.50€ on board. You must stamp your ticket when you board. Bus tickets can also be used on the funiculars and public elevators that climb the city’s steep hills surrounding the ancient core of the town. Tickets good for 24 hours cost 4.50€, or 9€ for four people (two people travel for free). You can also buy a pack of 10 single tickets for 14€.
By Taxi -- Metered taxis, which you can find at cabstands, are a convenient and safe way to get around Genoa at night if you are tired of navigating mazelike streets or trying to decipher the city’s elaborate bus system. For instance, you may well want to consider taking a taxi from a restaurant in the Old Town to your hotel or to one of the train stations (especially Stazione Brignole, which is a bit farther). Cabstands at Piazza della Nunziata, Piazza Fontane Marose, and Piazza de Ferrari are especially convenient to the Old Town, or call a radio taxi at (tel) 010-5966.
By Subway -- The city’s nascent subway system is a work in progress, as there are still only seven stops on a single line between Piazza De Ferrari and a suburb to the northwest called Certosa (there are convenient stops in between at Stazione Principe and at Dinegro close to the ferry port). The tickets are the same as those used for the bus.
Festivals & Markets
In June, an ancient tradition continues when Genoa takes to the sea in the Regata delle Antiche Repubbliche Marinare (not to be confused with Venice’s own Regata Storica) competing against crews from its ancient maritime rivals, Amalfi, Pisa, and Venice, who host the event in turn. Another spectacular—though more modern—regatta takes place every April, the Millevele, or Thousand Sails, when Genoa’s bay is carpeted with the mainsails and spinnakers of nautical enthusiasts from around the world.
The Mercato Orientale, Genoa’s sprawling indoor food market, evokes the days when ships brought back spices and other commodities from the ends of the earth. Still a boisterous affair and an excellent place to stock up on olives, herbs, fresh fruit, and other Ligurian products, it is held Monday through Saturday 7:30am to 1pm and 3:30 to 7:30pm, with entrances on Via XX Settembre and Via Galata (about halfway between Piazza de Ferrari at the edge of the Old Town and Stazione Brignole). The district just north of the market (especially Via San Vincenzo and Via Colombo) is a gourmand’s dream, with many bakeries, pasticcerie (pastry shops), and stores selling pasta and cheese, wine, olive oil, and other foodstuffs.
City Layout -- Genoa extends for miles along the coast, with neighborhoods and suburbs tucked into valleys and climbing the city’s many hills. Most sights of interest are in the Old Town, a fascinating jumble of old palazzi, laundry-festooned tenements, cramped squares, and tiny lanes and alleyways clustered on the eastern side of the old port. The city’s two train stations are located on either side of the Old Town. As confusing as Genoa’s topography is, wherever you are in the Old Town, you are only a short walk or bus or taxi ride from one of these two stations. Stazione Principe is the closest, just to the west; from Piazza Acquaverde, in front of the station, follow Via Balbi through Piazza della Nunziata and Via Bensa to Via Cairoli, which runs into Via Garibaldi (the walk will take about 15 min.). Via Garibaldi, lined with a succession of majestic palazzi, forms the northern flank of the Old Town and is the best place to begin your explorations. Many of the city’s most important museums and other major monuments are on and around this street, and from here you can descend into the warren of little lanes, known as caruggi, that lead through the cluttered heart of the city and down to the port.
From Stazione Brignole, walk straight across the broad, open space to Piazza della Vittoria/Via Luigi Cadorna and turn right to follow broad Via XX Settembre, one of the city’s major shopping avenues, due west for about 15 or 20 minutes to Piazza de Ferrari, which is on the eastern edge of the Old Town. From here, Via San Lorenzo, accessed by exiting the southwest corner of the square, will lead you past Genoa’s cathedral and to the port. To reach Via Garibaldi, go north from Piazza de Ferrari on Via XXV Aprile to Piazza delle Fontane Marose. This busy square marks the eastern end of Via Garibaldi.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.